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Governor Polis issued Executive Order D2020-017 – CLICK HERE
Ordering Coloradans to Stay in Place Due to the Presence of COVID-19 in the State
Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Analysse here with the Governor’s Community Engagement team! In an effort to continue to provide you with an official update from the Governor’s office, below includes the latest steps we are taking to respond to the Coronavirus threat. The most valuable resource we have is time and we need to do more to slow down the spread of the virus. We appreciate your support in helping to spread these updates to your network.
Quick Links to Stay Up to Date
As of today we have 1,086 cases, 19 deaths, and 148 hospitalizations out of 8,064 completed tests.
As you can see, the numbers continue to grow, and at this point, require more drastic action.
Today, the Governor signed a letter to the President asking him to declare a Major Disaster for the State of Colorado to help us deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. A Major Disaster declaration would free up a host of federal resources to assist with Medical Care, Housing, Disaster Management, Unemployment Assistance, Case management, Legal Services, Nutrition, Crisis Counseling, Hazard Mitigation, and other areas.
Furthermore, the Governor has called on the President to grant Colorado Dual Status Commander Authority. This designation will ensure unity of command, allowing regular, federal military units to be controlled by a single commander representing the Governor. This will help to eliminate confusion and conflict, and allow us to streamline the utilization of our military personnel in this response.
*NEW* – Stay at Home Order
Today, after much deliberation with our team and with public health experts, the Governor announced that we are finalizing a statewide Stay-At-Home order that will begin on Thursday, March 26 at 6:00 a.m. and will last until Saturday, April 11, 2020.
The full order will be released by midnight. In short, what a Stay at Home order means is individuals are only to interact with their household and only leave their houses for essential activities and to take extreme precautions to limit coming in contact with potentially contaminated surfaces.
Facilities that remain open must take steps to ensure social distancing or face legal consequences. If this order is going to be effective, instructions need to be clear and concise to all Coloradans and we must obey them. Coloradans should not leave their homes except for certain activities including:
- Obtaining food and other household necessities including medicine, liquor, or cannabis
- Going to and from work if you are an essential employee
- Seeking medical care
- Caring for dependents or pets
- Caring for a vulnerable person in another location
- Or participating in outdoor recreation at a legally-mandated safe distance of six feet or more from other parties.
Limiting our social interactions is the most effective way to get control of this virus. The projections dictate that more extreme measures must be taken to avoid a colossal breach of our health care system’s capacity. The priority MUST be preventing a catastrophic loss of human life. We all have a responsibility to ourselves, our fellow Coloradans, and our fellow Americans to reduce the spread of this virus. Our goal is to prevent the unnecessary sacrifice of human lives. And it’s going to take all of us.
Grocery Store Guidance
At the state level we are focused on keeping all Coloradans safe, especially essential employees. We know that grocery stores have been very busy these past few weeks, and they will continue to be busy. Yesterday, the Governor sent a letter to grocery executives — and followed up with Safeway and King Soopers this morning — asking them to prioritize the health and safety of their workers and help reduce the spread of the virus by:
- Providing appropriate gloves, masks, face screens, and other personal protective equipment to grocery store workers to the extent possible
- Consider expanding into grocery delivery services, prioritizing service to those at the highest risk
- Provide daily designated time periods for higher-risk individuals to shop – I know some stores are already doing that.
- Establish entrance/access controls to ensure crowds are in compliance with safe social distancing practices like standing six feet away from each other in line
- To the extent possible, assign those employees with higher health-risks to tasks with lowest exposure risks such as backroom work.
We want to make sure that those essential employees are able to perform their work safely while we manage this crisis. We’re also calling on municipalities to temporarily suspend plastic bag fee ordinances for thirty days because of the potential to spread COVID-19 through the use of reusable grocery bags.
Federal Stimulus Package
As this pandemic continues, we will continue to need the federal government to step up for Coloradans. This package will help workers and small businesses.
The package being negotiated includes $600 per week in additional unemployment benefits and extends the time in which individuals can collect unemployment benefits to 39 weeks. There are also more than $300 billion in loans and grants to small businesses across the country. Individual Americans would receive up to $1,200 per person in direct payments based on income with an additional $500 available per child.
Army Corps of Engineers / ICU Beds
Right now, Army Corps of Engineers are assisting with planning and constructing alternative care sites, which are existing facilities that can be converted to provide medical care for non-COVID patients and/or patients who are recovering from COVID-19. This is incredibly important, and they need to be brought online quickly so we can handle the coming surge of cases. At the peak of this crisis, we expect to need thousands of more hospital beds. If we do not flatten the curve, the need for those beds could be all at once. So building this extra care space will be vitally important for our state’s health care system capacity.
The State lab has eliminated its backlog, and tripled its testing capacity. We know that one lab is not going to be enough — we need every lab in the state at maximum capacity. We’ve conducted 7 mobile testing sites to date. And there are new labs coming online to do testing: CU, CSU, University Hospital, Children’s. And we are in the process of distributing 4500 test kits to Local Public Health agencies for additional testing at community-based testing sites in Fort Collins, Grand Junction, and Colorado Springs.
Urgent Call for More Ventilators
One area that continues to be a challenge is getting our hands on enough ventilators. Right now we’re about 7,000 short of what we will need at the peak. Our latest delivery from the national stockpile included zero ventilators. Our Innovation Response Team is working as hard as they can to identify manufacturers and supply chains, but we need private sector manufacturers in our state to join this cause and help us produce these ventilators that will save the lives of our neighbors, our friends, our parents, grandparents, maybe even ourselves.
PPE Drive / HelpColoradoNow / COVID-19 Relief Fund / Donate Blood
We want to continue to encourage those who are able to continue to rise to the challenge in all sorts of ways.
- Personal Protective Equipment: To donate PPE keep the bare minimum amount of supply you need to conduct essential or life saving functions, and contribute the remainder to our state’s COVID19 response. If you have small quantities of supplies to contribute, between 1-25 boxes of personal protective equipment donate these supplies to your local public health department, local community health center, community clinic, or local hospital. If you have more than 25 boxes, or the pieces of larger equipment such as anesthesia machines or ventilators, fill out THIS FORM.
- Relief Fund: To donate to COVID-19 Relief Fund, go to HelpColoradoNow.org
- Volunteer to Help: Sign up to volunteer at HelpColoradoNow.org
- Donated blood: Visit vitalant.org to find a location to donate near you.
- Innovation Response Team: Private sector companies who want to partner with us on acquiring testing, critical constrained medical supplies, technology, or support services for people who are isolated go to HelpColoradoNow.org.
We’re all in this together, and we will continue to look for both public and private sector solutions that will allow us to address the public health crisis and the economic crisis at the same time. The most important and responsible thing we can do — for our state, country, and the lives of those around us — is to stay home unless it’s absolutely necessary.
We greatly appreciate your helping to share information during this crisis. We will continue to send these regular updates. As always, please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or needs from our office. My cell phone is 210-385-7556. We are here to help!
Deputy Community Engagement Director
200 E Colfax, State Capitol, Denver, CO 80203